Leading marine service supplier Maersk Supply Service and Dutch non-profit engineering environmental organisation The Ocean Cleanup have announced positive results from a joint hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) trial.

The trial involved blending biofuel into the marine gas oil on the Maersk Tender, the statement said.

For the trial, the partners purchased 90M tonnes of HVO biofuel, with a mixing rate of 15% HVO and 85% low sulphur marine gas oil (MGO), Maersk Supply Service said.

The HVO was able to cover two separate six-week trips, according to the statement, and saved 38.95M tonnes of CO₂.

“For now, it is very much a test, as biofuel is still an expensive alternative to standard marine gas oil. Still, it has given us valuable insight into how this can reduce our emissions further,” Maersk Supply Service managing director for Canada Chris Tibbo said.

In advance of the launch, Maersk Supply Service said it made some technical modifications to improve the Maersk Tender’s fuel efficiency and further reduce the vessel’s carbon footprint.

Modifications included retrofitting each of the ship’s four thrusters with frequency drives and fitting frequency drives on all engine room fans.

The promising results from the trial could pave the way for similar upgrades to be carried out on more Maersk Supply Service’s T-Class vessels, the statement said.

“It is a substantial investment that we have placed in these energy upgrades,” Tibbo said.

“As a responsible company, we need to do what we can to reduce our emissions whilst also remaining attractive for our customers.”

Maersk Supply Service, which is part of the Danish integrated shipping company Maersk, has set a target to reduce the carbon intensity of its fleet by 50% by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050.

With 2018 as the baseline, the company said it had so far seen a 13% reduction through its effort to improve energy efficiency.

According to its website, Maersk Supply Service has a fleet of 44 vessels.